Does semantic preactivation reduce inattentional blindness?

Carina Kreitz, Robert Schnuerch, Philip Furley, Henning Gibbons, Daniel Memmert

Publikation: Beitrag in FachzeitschriftZeitschriftenaufsätzeForschungBegutachtung

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We are susceptible to failures of awareness if a stimulus occurs unexpectedly and our attention is focused elsewhere. Such inattentional blindness is modulated by various parameters, including stimulus attributes, the observer's cognitive resources, and the observer's attentional set regarding the primary task. In three behavioral experiments with a total of 360 participants, we investigated whether mere semantic preactivation of the color of an unexpected object can reduce inattentional blindness. Neither explicitly mentioning the color several times before the occurrence of the unexpected stimulus nor priming the color more implicitly via color-related concepts could significantly reduce the susceptibility to inattentional blindness. Even putting the specific color concept in the main focus of the primary task did not lead to reduced inattentional blindness. Thus, we have shown that the failure to consciously perceive unexpected objects was not moderated by semantic preactivation of the objects' most prominent feature: its color. We suggest that this finding reflects the rather general principle that preactivations that are not motivationally relevant for one's current selection goals do not suffice to make an unexpected object overcome the threshold of awareness.
ZeitschriftAttention, Perception, & Psychophysics
Seiten (von - bis)759-767
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - 2015


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